Over in that far left corner, the faithful will recall that there was a tangle of bay laurels, brambles, diseased boxwood and who knows what all. The birds loved it. i did not. I was also fully fed up with muddy shoes and with picking brambles from Jacques’ hair. So I had the guys get rid of everything but the hazelnut trees — big bushes, really, given the way they had been pruned — and we started over.
The place is loaded with rocks, so they used some to build the walls you see. All the stonework was done with material found on site. We ripped out much of the awful weedy, rocky topsoil and replaced it with better stuff. We graveled the drive snd parking areas. Decomposed granite for the paths is almost unheard of here; I’m hoping that a guy who will be here in a couple of days can score some for me. He’s William Christie’s source. That’s how you know we’re getting old. We get excited about dirt. Our doctors make us take drugs.
It’s summer and construction ran late, too late to plant in the green-plastic-sheeted areas. I kept the hazelnuts. i have a few new trees, mostly Japanese maples, in the original Wild Wood area. I’ll put a few more in the far right quadrant. Then I’ll have to water everything like mad, as we’re headed into a heat wave.
Come autumn, I’ll go nuts with the ground cover. I’ll lift the plastic sheeting and plant more trees, probably regular maples. I’m looking at a variety called Autumn Blaze. They will grow high enough to shade my south-facing house, while the Japanese maples will stay somewhat shorter.
Notice something different with the barn on the right? I was so happy with the results of my chipping away at the worn-out crepi that I had the guys use the scaffolding they put up anyway, to fix the rain gutters, to finish the job. Then they slathered everything with new crepi, which they then knocked back a bit, to expose the stone. One day the money will appear to do the barn on the left, too, if I don’t just cover the walls with Boston Ivy.
This has been brutal for the birds. All the chipping and sandblasting drove the owls away. They are just now starting to come back and I think they are using at least a couple of the nesting boxes. I left a little sliver of the old Wild Wood, so the other birds are not entirely gone. It looks like they might be auditioning the new planting., now that things are settling down again. In autumn, when we pull up the plastic and put in the trees — it used to be just scruffy, gravelly dirt and weeds — the Wild Wood will be pretty tame, but it will be much bigger. The ground cover will be varied and, I hope, weed-free. They’ll be better off, but it’s going to take a while.
Jacques will miss the plastic. That looks like carpet to him. He can hang out there, nice and comfy, and watch the street traffic. And the burrs are already on their way out.
I’ll post about this again in October, when the new trees are in. The changes have completely changed the way the house looks. At first I thought it was a bit much, but once things have grown in, I think it will be fine.